Senior Brian Hamor heads the list of three returning starters for Stonehill after collecting All-NE-10 honors last winter. (PHOTO BY Bert Lane)
Reigning NE-10 and East Regional Champs open Saturday against Chestnut Hill
EASTON, Mass. (November 8, 2012) – The preseason recognition for the defending Northeast-10 Conference and East Region Champion Stonehill College men's basketball team keeps coming in as the Skyhawks are ranked 22nd in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II preseason poll.
Stonehill, who was earlier ranked 12th in the Division II Bulletin preseason national poll released last month and picked third in the Northeast-10 preseason coaches' poll, are one of two NE-10 programs appearing in the NABC preseason top 25, with Franklin Pierce University ranked tenth. Fellow East Region member Bloomfield (N.J.) College, who Stonehill defeated to win the East Region Championship last March (75-70), is ranked 21st in the NABC poll.
Stonehill, under the direction of head coach David McLaughlin, the program's all-time leader in wins with 178, in his tenth season, returns nine letterwinners and three starters from last year's squad that posted a 25-9 record overall, including a 15-7 mark in NE-10 play. The Skyhawks finished third in the NE-10 regular season standings, but caught fire in the postseason by winning ten straight games (including its final three in the regular season) to reach the national semifinals at the NCAA Division II Elite Eight in Highland Heights, Ky.
Head coach David McLaughlin returns for his tenth season at the helm having become the program's all-time wins leader last postseason. (PHOTO BY Richard Orr)
Senior Brian Hamor (Schenectady, N.Y./Bishop Gibbons), the Most Outstanding Player at the East Regional, leads the list of returnees for Stonehill after earning All-Northeast-10 second team honors last season. He enters his final season just 58 points shy of becoming the program's 36th 1,000 point scorer after averaging a team-best 14.3 points per game last season on 40.5-percent shooting from the field, including 36.5% (57-for-156) from three-point range, to go with 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game.
Senior point guard Sam Markle (Bethany, Conn./Saint Thomas More) and sophomore Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) round out the list of returning starters for the Skyhawks. Markle has dished out over 300 assists in his career, averaging 3.9 per game last season, while Cole made an immediate impact as a freshman for the Skyhawks, starting 33 of the 34 games and contributing 5.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and a team-high 1.6 blocked shots per contest. Stonehill will also get a major contribution again from senior Adam Fazzini (Drums, Pa./Crestwood) who led the team with 9.0 points off the bench last season in a valuable sixth man role, shooting a team-best 46.2-percent (72-for-156) from three-point range.
Stonehill won its first NE-10 Tournament Championship since 1989 with a 73-61 victory over the University of Massachusetts Lowell, among teams receiving votes in the NABC preseason poll, last winter and then claimed its second East Regional title with the 75-70 victory over Bloomfield in Worcester, Mass. The Skyhawks upset NABC preseason No. 1 West Liberty University in a national quarterfinal at the Elite Eight, 91-90, before falling to eventual national champions and Western Washington University, ranked 6th in the NABC preseason poll, in the semifinals, 71-66.
Stonehill opens its 2012-13 season on Saturday when it hosts Chestnut Hill College at Merkert Gym at 6 p.m. Please note the time change from the original schedule. The Skyhawks NE-10 opener is slated for Wednesday, November 14, at home against Saint Anselm College at 7:30 p.m. Seven of Stonehill's first ten games this season will be at home leading up to the New Year.